Tim Wray

Tim Wray was a businessman who had a 45-year career with the global construction consultancy, Turner & Townsend.

Tim Wray, former executive chairman of Turner & Townsend
Tim Wray, former executive chairman of Turner & Townsend

Mr Wray, who has died at 69 following a short illness, served as chairman of the Leeds-based firm until late 2016

He spent his entire career with the company and during his time it rose to be one of the planet’s biggest construction consultancy outfits.

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Born in North Yorkshire, he was educated at Ripon Grammar School before going on to attend the University of North London.

He initially joined Turner & Townsend as an assistant quantity surveyor based in Darlington before relocating in 1979 to the firm’s headquarters in Horsforth as a senior cost engineer. The next year, he was appointed associate partner.

He would relocate again in 1982, this time to Johannesburg, South Africa, to head up heavy engineering and mining projects.

It was during this time that he established a long-standing affection for the continent, and he greatly enjoyed holidaying in the South African bush.

He also established many toy libraries in South Africa, to help disadvantaged families.

Mr Wray would spend the next 18 years in Johannesburg and helped establish a total of five more offices in Africa. In 1999, he became chairman and senior partner.

Perhaps the best testimony to his abilities as a businessman were the three Queen’s Awards for Export the company amassed during his tenure as chairman.

Among the major projects he worked on domestically were the Shard building in London.

He also created the Chairman’s Group, a global initiative which challenges the firm’s staff to provide bold, insightful and practical solutions to real issues in the business.

At the time of his retirement the company boasted a turnover in excess of £400m and employed just under 4,300 consultants.

To date it has 104 offices in 44 countries, with a presence in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, the Americas, Asia Pacific and Africa.

Colleagues at the firm paid tribute to their former chairman with Vincent Clancy, the chief executive, describing him as a “well-respected industry figure, dedicated to championing the development of our people, at every stage of their career”.

Mr Clancy also said he was “a visionary and a strong leader – astute, generous and charismatic”.

He was married to Christine and had three daughters and an extended family of grandchildren.